Endorsement of the NAM Plan

On December 18, 2008, The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) submitted an exhaustively inclusive 15 page document (pdf) in response to the CPSC’s request for comments. It is the position of this site to heartily endorse this plan. Furthermore, NAM is commended for their proactive action in this matter.

Other entities supporting the plan:

  • American Apparel & Footwear Association
  • Association of American Publishers
  • Book Manufacturers Institute, Inc.
  • Fashion Jewelry Trade Association
  • Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association
  • National Association of Manufacturers
  • National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers
  • National Retail Federation
  • Retail Industry Leaders Association
  • Printing Industries of America
  • Specialty Graphic Imaging Association
  • Toy Industry Association
  • Fashion-Incubator.com

Feel free to comment if you’re not represented by one of these groups. For the greatest impact, consider printing the plan and mailing it to the address included in the header. Be sure to include your contact information with your statement that you support it.

Urgent: Please collect lab price quotes

Thanks to your efforts, we’ve gained the ear of key legislators and media. However, as no law maker wants to be known as “the legislator who wants to put lead back in toys,” we need documentation. Now. If you’ve gotten any price quotes, please send those as they are desperately needed. If you prefer, you can upload them at CPSIA Central.

One senator — a sponsor of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act — who understands manufacturing, has also requested testing time estimates. He wants to know how long will it take for lab results to be returned to you. In other words, he understands that waiting on testing for several weeks can amount to unanticipated losses, particularly if delivery deadlines are missed due to a lengthened production schedule.

If you have requested a price quote and have not received one, please send a statement that includes the date of your submission, to whom it was sent, a description of the product, a description of the testing requested (if known) and your contact information. Rob Wilson — who’s been waiting five business days for a price quote — mentions Bureau Veritas won’t even give estimates. This and related information is likewise useful as it demonstrates one is compelled to commit to testing without knowing the costs.

Activists Meet Up!

In the interests of promoting greater unity in the CPSIA fight and given that Fashion-Incubator has had the most active participation with solid information (no mythinformation or rumors), the CPSIA section of the forum has been opened to the public. At last count there are 40 different threads, nearly 700 posts and thousands upon thousands of views. Anyone can read, post, create stickies, announcements etc in this section (all other sections of the forum are closed to the public unless you join).

In participating, act as you would sitting in someone’s living room. Please don’t post “is my [child related] product exempt” because it isn’t. It just isn’t. Likewise, any posts containing rumors, unsubstantiated claims or mythinformation will be removed. I realize it will be difficult and time consuming to read through some of the multi page threads but please make use of the search feature because it is likely your question has been answered. As most of them have been; we’re focusing on activism at this point.

Speaking of activism, there is now an automated method of emailing all of your legislators from one simple window. Scroll down, fill out the form (don’t forget to include your state of residence) and all of your senators and congressmen will receive your message.

CPSIA activists hurting the cause!

Judging from the dramatic increase in postings I’m seeing on other forums and blogs, the mission has finally gone viral with several news stories purportedly in the works. Yeah us. But, I’m p.o’ed. Welcome back Kathleen!

There is one common theme I’m reading that has me very upset -other than the outright fabrications and rumors. Repeatedly, people are framing this as an issue of large vs small manufacturers. Small manufacturers are either saying this CPSIA mess was a strategy cooked up by the big guys to eliminate competition or that this legislation will hurt small players more than large ones. Both of these positions are false. You lose -we lose- a lot of credibility if you take either position so just stop it, stop it now. I’ll explain why we lose if people keep repeating these two messages.

Here’s why large manufacturers are hit worse than small ones:

  • They are more visible, they can’t hide.
  • Their customers are better informed.
  • They have factoring and loans.

There’s thousands of small manufacturers hiding, sewing in their guest bedroom, selling consumer direct and hoping that the authorities don’t catch up with them. Few of your customers will know to ask if you are compliant. If you have any financing, it’s either credit cards, a personal loan or heaven forbid, home equity. Large manufacturers have no such benefits.

Issue #1, being larger, big manufacturers make a better target; they’re easier to hit. It’s easier to go after them than the thousands of you. Much more bang for the buck as far as enforcement dollars are concerned and you’d better believe agency funding is contingent upon ROI too. Second, their customers aren’t blissfully unaware Etsy buyers. No, their customers are big box retailers who have cadre of attorneys who are concerned about their own liability. Speaking of, large retailers will be hit hard so stop saying they’re in on the plot too. They’re not going to take a chance on stocking product that’s not compliant. As such, they are making a lot of demands on manufacturers, some of which are not warranted by the CPSIA guidelines so that’s a whole other story but suffice to say, your customers aren’t twisting your arms. Lastly, as I said before, manufacturers take out loans which are legal contracts. For the contract to be legal, the goods must be legally sale able. If the goods aren’t compliant, they’re not legal and so no loans. And yes the factors loaning money are well aware of this for those who keep asking. You’re not the only entity who needs credit to keep your enterprise going between product cycles. The truth is closer to “the bigger they are, the harder they fall”.

Issue #2, I know who started the rumor that this was a ploy of large manufacturers to put small ones out of business but I won’t dignify him with a link. Get real. You are not a threat. This posture is narcissistic and grandiose. How are you that important? Your two hundred units a year is a big deal to you but they don’t even feel it. Why would you presume to be worth the effort of a hare-brained scheme to undermine you? It’s really insulting too. Do you presume they’re so money hungry they roll drunks too? Who has the time? I think Rick Woldenberg’s defense of small businesses was not just genuine and impassioned, it was based on business pragmatics. He buys a lot of stuff from small manufacturers in addition to making his own stuff. If you go out of business, that hurts his bottom line. So why would you repay someone like Mr. Woldenberg with these childish accusations? It is embarrassing that I even have to write something like this publicly. How can you expect the press and politicos to take you seriously if you say things like this?

But that’s not the biggest problem. The issue is splintering activism. This isn’t a fight against big manufacturers, it’s a fight against a law passed by Congress so these two positions are just stupid. Is your intended goal to have Congress shut down all the big guys or to rescind the legislation? If it is to put the big boys out of business then sit tight, Congress has done everything but nail the coffin shut. You’re the ones who can skate by. And by the way, since we’re on the topic, I will continue to delete vapid comments from people who blame Obama when he’s not even president. If you are compelled to blame a president, blame the one who signed the bill into law.

The issue is, if you make the weak points that this is a conspiracy of big manufacturers out to get you, you’re going to lose all credibility because the people that matter, the ones who can cover this story in the press, have enough sophistication to understand the dynamics of retail and you’ll look grandiose and ignorant of business matters or like a wild eyed conspiracy theorist. Neither position is credible or attractive.

Some other ideas mucking things up:

  • The problem is not component testing so stop saying that. Yeah, I get it, component testing is expensive but it’s still a money saver over unit testing which is what we’re required to do.
  • Small businesses produce better and safer products than large ones. The opposite is more likely to be true. Did you see the pacifiers with 98% lead swarovski crystals glued to them by a home “artisan”?
  • Being against the proposed legislation does not mean we support selling dangerous products. The problem is, this law will put out the very people who are already following safety guidelines. It’s larger manufacturers, not smaller ones who tend to be more compliant. You might not like that but it’s true.
  • This law will not put the bad eggs out of business. If they didn’t care about previous guidelines, this law won’t stop them either.

Previous entries in this series:
New product safety regulations that affect all manufacturers
CPSIA Requirements
National Bankruptcy Day
CPSIA: Unit vs Component Testing
CPSIA: What must be tested
Up, up and away…
CPSIA: Confusion run amok

Activism: Congress

This is feel-good legislation among Congress that passed 424 to 1.

While we applaud the actions of Congress and the CPSC to provide greater protection for our children, the process and implementation of the rules and regulations are simply untenable putting more of us out of business at a time the economy can least weather it.

This page will be updated with suggested activities for concerned consumers and businesses.